The National Law Journal Names Three Akin Gump Partners as Health Care Law Trailblazers

(Washington, D.C.) – The National Law Journal has named Akin Gump health partners Christopher Keough, Robert Salcido and Stephanie Webster to its inaugural list of Health Care Law Trailblazers, recognizing those “who have made an impact in their sector through new types of strategies or innovative court cases.”

Mr. Keough was recognized for a practice that includes large-scale Medicare reimbursement litigation. The NLJ notes that his focus in this area began in the early 2000s when he served as lead counsel for more than 100 hospitals seeking mandamus relief. Mr. Keough spoke of eventually securing “a $650 million global settlement covering 600 hospitals nationwide, at the time the largest settlement in the history of the Medicare program.” He later successfully represented 700 hospitals in “the first-ever challenge to the calculation for base payment rates that Medicare pays to all hospitals.”

Mr. Salcido’s trailblazer recognition comes after several notable False Claims Act wins, including one in which the government accused a physician of providing unnecessary therapy. Using a novel defense, “that if the government claims services lack medical necessity, then the government has to show that the services were objectively false,” Mr. Salcido won this “groundbreaking” case in summary judgment with the government ordered to pay $500,00 in attorneys’ fees. In a later case involving claims of a possible violation of the anti-kickback statute, in which the government was seeking $895 million, Mr. Salcido said he helped set “important precedents that for the government to have an effective cause of action, they had to prove more than just one company coveting referrals from another to trigger the anti-kickback statute.”

Ms. Webster’s blazed trails include her work with payment of service cases. Last year, she successfully handled a “bet-the-company case challenging a ‘black box’ method for determining medical coding that has never been challenged before.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in her client’s favor. Ms. Webster is also involved with a case pending before the Supreme Court pertaining to a challenge to a rule that was issued in 2004. The D.C. Circuit vacated the rule, she said, in what was “the first finding that the Medicare Act required notice and comment rulemaking, even where the Administrative Procedure Act wouldn’t require it.” A decision is expected by the end of June.

The trio was previously named to The National Law Journal’s inaugural edition of Litigation Trailblazers & Pioneers—the top 50 people “who have made a difference in the fight for justice.” (Click here to read more.)

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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